Spotlight On: Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail

A dark morning with people standing around a white bus looking at a man lifting a box.
Moraine Lake Bus Company

Several hiking trails begin at Moraine Lake. Some are fantastic for hikers and mountaineers looking for a challenge, while others are great for those who’d like something a little easier. If you fall into the latter group, the Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail is an excellent option!

Starting at the canoe docks on the shores of Moraine Lake, the Shoreline Trail is a great hike for beginners, those with young kids, and those who feel a little unsure on their feet. It’s also a leisurely stroll if you fancy something at a slower pace on a more relaxed day of exploring.

If you’ve been looking for easy hikes in Banff National Park, this is the guide for you! We’re going to shine a spotlight on the Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail, and we’ll also share a little more information on our shuttles to Moraine Lake.

Facilities at the Start of the Trail

The start of the trail is right next to our bus stop where our shuttles will drop you off and pick you up.

The area for parking around Moraine Lake offers visitors a chance to use the public washrooms, visit the Moraine Lake Trading Post gift shop, and to check out the Moraine Lake Lodge — which has a café for snacks and quick bites with an outdoor seating area. You can also rent canoes here on a first-come, first-served basis.

About the Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail

The trail is approximately two kilometres long to the back of the lake. It takes about one hour to walk — though this will likely increase based on your pace and how often you stop to enjoy the breathtaking views and take photos.

Generally speaking, the overall elevation gain is minimal, ideal if your calves are aching after a heavy afternoon on the hills the day before.

To find the start of the trail, head to the easy-to-find canoe docks on the right side of the lake from the lodge — you can’t miss it. From here, simply follow the pathway; it will wrap around the water and weave through the forest next to the lake. Just keep the lake on your left until you get to the end — it’s that simple!

When you’re hiking along the Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail, you’ll see fantastic views of Mount Fay and Fay Glacier and unobstructed views over the lake’s clear waters. On nice days, you’ll likely see colourful canoes with happy visitors paddling by.

The trail ends at a boardwalk near a creek that flows from the Wenkchemna Glacier, this creek feeds Moraine Lake and contributes to its beautiful blue colour. However, following the path to the end is completely up to you — you can easily turn back at any point, whatever works best for you!

A close-up of a white tote bag that says ‘KAWS: HOLIDAY Japan’ with a bright blue lake in the background

Extending Your Hike

If you feel like extending your hike, the Moraine Lake Shoreline Trail can be combined with the ever-popular (and short) Rockpile Trail. The Rockpile is a must-visit spot if you’d like to enjoy Moraine Lake at sunrise .

Walking these two trails consecutively creates a short and easy trip that’s still totally doable for novice hikers and those looking to move at a slower pace. Taking on both routes allows you to see the lake from two completely different perspectives — one from the lakeshore and another from a slight elevation.

Wildlife You May Encounter

Banff National Park is home to many Canadian wildlife, including elk, coyotes, moose, and big horn sheep. It’s also home to wolves (there are five or six different packs in the park!) and bears — the grizzlies outnumber the black bears here.

On the Shoreline Trail, you are more likely to spot critters like squirrels, chipmunks, and birds like the gray jay. You are very unlikely to see any larger wildlife on this popular trail.

What Should You Bring?

Clothing-wise, the temperature and weather in the Canadian Rockies can shift heavily between months and throughout each day, and Moraine Lake is no exception. While your ‘to bring’ list will vary based on the month you visit — we run our services between June 1 to Thanksgiving weekend — we recommend that you come prepared with layers, including a rain jacket and sunscreen if you’re out for the whole day.

Food-wise, enjoying a picnic by the lake is a great way to spend your morning or afternoon! Check with your accommodation to see if they can supply a to-go meal, pick up supplies in town before you catch the shuttle, or grab a bite at the Moraine Lake Café at the lodge.

Let Us Get You There

We promised shuttle information, and here it is! Whether you want to hike the Moraine Lake shoreline, enjoy the sunrise at the Rockpile or take on one of the more challenging hikes in the area, we can get you there.

Our services run throughout the day to Moraine Lake — with some of our services stopping at Lake Louise on the way there for an hour.

We’re proud to be a shuttle service that lets you book your trip to the lake and back in advance — ideal if you want to see Moraine Lake, do a shorter hike (like the Shoreline Trail), then move on to someplace else in Banff National Park.

Roundtrip tickets start at $35 CAD for adults and $25 CAD for kids. You can see more information about our rates here.

If you have any questions about the Shoreline Trail or our services, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always happy to help!

Book your Moraine Lake shuttle today